Cargo To Save Local Airlines Amid Global Slump, Crises

Cargo Airlines Cargo To Save Local Airlines Amid Global Slump, Crises

Local airlines have been urged to shift focus to air cargo operations to enhance the chances of survival during the current restriction in passenger services and the difficult recovery that lies ahead.

Industry experts said the airlines could follow the pragmatic examples of carriers like Lufthansa, Air Canada, and Kenya Airways that are deploying passenger carriers to cargo operations, which are currently unrestricted in Nigeria.

The call comes at a time when the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for March air cargo performance demonstrating a severe capacity shortfall.

Global demand fell by 15.2 per cent in March compared to the previous year (-15.8 per cent for international markets). Global capacity shrank by 22.7 per cent in March compared to the previous year (-24.6 per cent for international markets).

Notwithstanding, African airlines were less affected by disruptions in March. They saw year-on-year growth in international cargo tonne kilometers (CTKs) fall by 1.2 per cent following the positive annual outcomes in January and February.

The Africa-Asia market was the only trade lane which continued to post growth in March, with volumes up almost 10 per cent year-on-year. International capacity decreased by 8.2 per cent.

Aviation security consultant, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said there was nothing in the Aviation Ministry’s lockdown directives that stopped the domestic airlines from operating special flights, especially cargo freights as Air Peace is doing.

“I said this long time ago when the Lufthansa model came out on the CNN. I advised that the airlines and Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON) should meet the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for a redefined standard for the use of their passengers’ aircraft for local cargo operations and regional later.

“I said this than to ensure that the extension of the crew and aircraft licences (by the NCAA) were not wasted. I am not sure what benefits they had from the extensions, and if there is any life left in the extensions. Instead of the operators looking out for government’s intervention funds, they have better prospect of survival in cargo operations,” Ojikutu said.

Indeed, international markets account for 87 per cent of air cargo. Belly capacity for international air cargo, however, shrank by 43.7 per cent in March compared to the previous year. This was partially offset by a 6.2 per cent increase in capacity through expanded use of freighter aircraft, including the use […]

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